Lesson Plan: Linares Family’s “Skull”

This lesson plan was researched and written by Ashlynn Miller, a Spring 2022 University of Texas at Tyler Exhibition Practicum Student. The lesson plan was edited by Rachel Anthony, the Tyler Museum of Art Education Manager.


If you use or reference this lesson plan, please leave a comment with your feedback. The lesson plan can be downloaded in the link below.


Linares Family. Skull. C. 1993, La Merced, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico. 9.1 x 7.6 x10. 5 in. Papier-mâché. Tyler Museum of Art, Gift of Laura and Dan Boeckman. 2010.01.177

Culture: Mexico

Subject: Art History, Folk Art, Fine Art

Collection: Tyler Museum of Art’s Boeckman Collection

Grades: Middle School

Topics: Artistic Practices, Art History, Critical Thinking


Art Vocabulary

Activity Vocabulary:

Linares Family
  • Linares Family works at a multi-studio compound in Mexico City, Mexico, creating calaveras, Judas figurines and alebrijes. 1
  • The family’s most popular work can be found in local galleries and stores during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday. 2
Papier mâché /Cartonero
  • Papier mâché is an art form that uses paper and a paste to create objects/sculptures.3
  • Materials include paper, a type of adhesive and a form of structure.4
  • Types of adhesives would include:
    • Flour and hot water
    • Diluted Elmer’s glue with water
    • Drywall compound and glue for heavy-duty projects
    • Pre-mixed adhesive
  • Forms of structure include:
    • Balloons
    • Cardboard
    • Chicken Wire
    • Eggs
    • Paper pulp
Alebrijes
  • Alebrijes were invented by Pedro Linares, who was the head of the Linares Family. 5
  • Linares had a feverish dream that caused him to hallucinate and see bright colors with a voice saying “Alebrije”.6
  • Alebrijes are papier mâché sculptures that depict mythical creatures, patterns, and bright colors. 7

Elements of Design8

Line
  • A path that is created by a moving point, mark or object. A line can be straight, wavy, swirly, jagged, dotted, thick, thin, diagonal, vertical, horizontal, curved, bold, parallel, and perpendicular.
Shape
  • Two-dimensional (2D), flat enclosed area. A line that crosses over itself and creates a shape. Some examples of 2D would be geometric, organic/natural, circle, square, diamond, oval, or heart.
Form
  • Three-dimensional (3D) objects that have height, width, and depth.
Space
  • The element that refers to emptiness or area around or within objects. Positive space would be part of the artwork that takes up space. Negative space is the area that is around the object. This element can be referred also to the foreground, middle ground and background on paintings and pictures.
Color
  • Color is an element that derives from reflected or absorbed light. Color adds mood and interest to works of art. Primary colors are red, yellow and blue. Secondary colors are by mixing primary colors, these colors are purple, orange and green.
Texture
  • Texture is how something feels or looks. There are two kinds of texture: real (how something feels) and implied (when the artist draws or paints a texture but it’s artificial).

Principle of Design

Rhythm/Pattern
  • Rhythm is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a feeling or organized movement. Pattern is the repeating of an object or symbol that is seen all over the artwork.
Movement
  • Movement is the path that the viewer’s eye takes through the work of art, often to focal areas. Movement can be viewed along lines, edges, shape, and color within the work of art.
Balance
  • Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space.
Proportion
  • Proportion is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) relate with each other. For instance, when drawing a figure of the human body, proportion can refer to the head size compared to the rest of the body.
Variety
  • Variety is the use of several elements of design to keep the attention of the viewer and guide the viewer’s eye through and around the work of art.
Emphasis
  • Emphasis is the part of the design that catches viewer attention. One area will usually stand out more than the rest of the artwork. The area could be different in size, color, texture, or shape.
Unity
  • Unity is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art.

Footnotes for Vocabulary

1 Shauna Snow, “Carrying on a Tradition in Papier-Mache : Art: Mexico’s Linares Family Gains International Attention for Its Life-Sized Calavera Sculptures. in a Rare Local Exhibition–the Artists’ First Commercial Gallery Show–Works by Three Family Members Are on View in Santa Monica.,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1991), accessed April 19th, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-12-03-ca-516- story.html.

2 Ibid.

3 Lauren Thomann, “Learn All about the Art of Papier Mâché,” The Spruce Crafts (The Spruce Crafts, December 1, 2019), accessed April 19th, 2022, https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/what-is-papier-mache-4777182.

4 Ibid.

5 Mezcal For Life, “Alebrijes by Pedro Linares- the Heart of Mexican Folk Art,” Mezcal For Life (Mezcal For Life, September 27, 2021), accessed April 19th, 2022, https://mezcalforlife.com/blogs/blog/alebrijes-the-heart-of- mexican-folk-art.

6 Mezcal For Life, “Alebrijes by Pedro Linares- the Heart of Mexican Folk Art,” Mezcal For Life (Mezcal For Life, September 27, 2021), accessed April 19th, 2022, https://mezcalforlife.com/blogs/blog/alebrijes-the-heart-of- mexican-folk-art.

7 Ibid.

8 eSchool View, “Elements of Art & Principles of Design,” Elements of art & principles of design (Mayfield City Schools, 2022), accessed April 19th, 2022, https://www.mayfieldschools.org/ElementsPrinciplesofDesign.aspx.


Bibliography: Resources for Vocabulary and Lesson Plan

Life, Mezcal For. “Alebrijes by Pedro Linares- the Heart of Mexican Folk Art.” Mezcal For Life. Mezcal For Life, September 27, 2021. Accessed April 19th, 2022, https://mezcalforlife.com/blogs/blog/alebrijes-the-heart-of-mexican-folk-art.

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.202: Art, Middle School 1, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed April 19th, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=202

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.203: Art, Middle School 2, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed April 19th, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=203

Office of the Secretary of State. “§117.204: Art, Middle School 3, Adopted 2013.” Texas Education Agency: Education, updated 2013, accessed April 19th, 2022, https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=117&rl=204

Snow, Shauna. “Carrying on a Tradition in Papier-Mache : Art: Mexico’s Linares Family Gains International Attention for Its Life-Sized Calavera Sculptures. in a Rare Local Exhibition–the Artists’ First Commercial Gallery Show–Works by Three Family Members Are on View in Santa Monica.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1991. Accessed April 19th, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-12-03-ca-516-story.html.

Thomann, Lauren. “Learn All about the Art of Papier Mâché.” The Spruce Crafts. The Spruce Crafts, December 1, 2019. Accessed April 19th, 2022, https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/what-is- papier-mache-4777182.

View, eSchool. “Elements of Art & Principles of Design.” Elements of art & principles of design. Mayfield City Schools accessed April 19th, 2022. https://www.mayfieldschools.org/ElementsPrinciplesofDesign.aspx.


Middle School Lesson Plans

Goals:


Middle School Students of all levels will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the principles of design used in the artwork;
  • Identify the elements of design used in the artwork;
  • Students will identify and explain what papier-mâché is and how it is used;
  • Students will identify and explain the importance of form when making an object;
  • Students will identify and explain why papier-mâché is useful when creating decorations in relations to Día’s de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Texas Middle School TEKS:

Art 1, Art 2, Art 3


–   §117.202. c.1.A / B / C / D

  • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
    • Identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
    • Understand and apply the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
    • Understand and apply the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using art vocabulary appropriately;
    • Discuss the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.

–     §117.202. c.1.A / B / C

  • Creative Expression:
    • Create original artworks based on direct observations, original sources, personal experiences, and the community;
    • Apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
    • Produce artworks including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photography imagery, and digital art and media, using a variety of materials.

–    §117.202.c.3.A / B / C / D

  • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
    • Identify the influence of historical and political events in artworks;
    • Identify examples of art that convey universal themes such as beliefs, cultural narrative, life cycles, the passage of time, identify, conflict, and cooperation;
    • Explain relationships that exist between societies and their art and architecture;
    • Explore career and avocational opportunities in art such as various design, museum and fine arts fields.

–    §117.202.c.4.A / B / C / D / E

  • Critical Evaluation and Response
    • Create written or oral responses to artwork using appropriate art vocabulary;
    • Analyze original artworks using method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
    • Develop a portfolio;
    • Investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;
    • Understand and demonstrate proper exhibition etiquette.

Art 2:

–    §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D

  • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
    • Identify and illustrate ideas from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experiences, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national and international;
    • Compare and contrast the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
    • Compare and contrast the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
    • Understand and apply the expressive properties of artworks such as appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol using art vocabulary accurately.

–    §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D

  • Creative Expression:
    • Create original artworks that express a variety of ideas based on direct observations, original sources, and personal experiences, including memory, identity, imagination, and the community;
  • Apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
    • Apply technical skills effectively using a variety of materials to produce artworks, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media;
    • Use an understanding of copyright and public domain to appropriate imagery when working from sources rather than direct observation or imagination.

–    §117.203.b.3.A / B / C / D

  • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
    • Analyze ways that global, cultural, historical and political issues influence artworks;
    • Analyze selected artworks to determine contemporary relevance in relationship to universal themes such as belief, cultural narrative, life cycles, the passage of time, identity, conflict, and cooperation;
    • Compare and contrast relationships that exist between a society’s art and its music, literature, and architecture;
    • Identify career and avocational choices in art such as various design, museum and fine arts fields.

–    §117.203.b.4.A / B / C / D / E

  • Critical Evaluation and Response:
    • Create written or oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgement, and personal expression;
    • Analyze original artworks using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
    • Develop a portfolio that demonstrates progress;
    • Investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;
    • Demonstrate an understanding of and apply proper exhibition etiquette.

Art 3:

–    §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D

  • Foundations: Observation and Perception:
    • Identify and illustrate concepts from direct observation, original sources, imagination, personal experience, and communities such as family, school, cultural, local, regional, national, and international;
    • Evaluate the elements of art, including line, shape, color, texture, form, space, and value, as the fundamentals of art in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
  • Evaluate the principles of design, including emphasis, repetition/pattern, movement/rhythm, contrast/variety, balance, proportion, and unity, in personal artworks using vocabulary accurately;
    • Compare and contrast the expressive properties of artworks, including appropriation, meaning, narrative, message, and symbol, using vocabulary accurately.

–    §117.203.b.1.A / B / C / D / E

  • Creative Expression:
    • Create original artworks expressing themes found through direct observation; original sources; personal experiences, including memory, identity, and imagination; and the community;
    • Apply the art-making process to solve problems and generate design solutions;
    • Create artworks by selecting appropriate art materials, including drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures/modeled forms, ceramics, fiber art, photographic imagery, and digital art and media;
    • Use an understanding of copyright and public domain to appropriate imagery when working from sources rather than direct observation or imagination;
    • Create experimental artworks using installation, performance, or collaboration.

–    §117.203.b.3.A / B / C / D

  • Historical and Cultural Relevance:
    • Analyze ways in which global, contemporary, historical, and political issues have influenced art;
    • Analyze cultural ideas expressed in artworks relating to social, political, and environmental themes such as environment/nature, conflict and power, relationships to others, and reality/fantasy;
    • Evaluate the relationships that exist among a society’s art, music, theatre, and dance;
    • Compare and contrast career and avocational opportunities in art such as various design, museum, and fine arts fields.

–    §117.203.b.4.A / B / C / D

  • Critical Evaluation and Response:
    • Create written and oral responses about personal or collaborative artworks addressing purpose, technique, organization, judgement, and personal expression;
    • Analyze original artworks and portfolios using a method of critique such as describing the artwork, analyzing the way it is organized, interpreting the artist’s intention, and evaluating the success of the artwork;
    • Investigate and explore original artworks in a variety of venues outside of the classroom such as museums, galleries, or community art;
    • Understand and demonstrate proper exhibition etiquette.

Middle School Art Activities


Questions for Middle School Students:

1.) Examine Linares Family artwork Skull. Identify where each element of art is located in the folk art.

2.) Examine Linares Family artwork Skull. Identify where each principle of is located in the folk art.

3.) What is papier-mâché, and what it is made of?

4.) How does the Linares Family make use of their craft when it comes to celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)?

5.) What materials do you think is good for structure purposes when making an object out of papier-mâché?


Activity: Middle School Fine Arts

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Paper (newspaper), flour and hot water, cardboard, and masking tape
  • Subject: Art History, Folk Art, 3D Composition, Shape, Sculpture
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Two to three day project

Students will study Linares Family artwork Skull. The class will create a three-dimensional (3D) artwork made out of papier-mâché. This assignment will have students focus on structure stability, form, shape, balance, and creativity. Students will be allowed to create their own 3D object from their own creative mind. They can even create a 3D object in relation to Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) if they choose.

Students need to take pieces of cardboard to form the structure of their objects. They can also use tape to keep the structure together and stabilized. A good structure and form is important for the object. Next the students will create their flour and hot water paste to use as an adhesive. This adhesive needs to be thick in order to have the right consistency. Once the paste is made, students then can soak their newspaper pieces. Once their newspaper piece is soaked, they then can layer it onto their structure they created. Students need to continue layering until their structure is completely covered. Remind students that it is best to let papier-mâché layers dry after 2 or 3 layers.

Another key factor to this assignment is that students need to use their fingers to smooth out the layers of paper. This is to make sure the paper is completely sticking to the object. Once students’ objects are dried, they are ready to be painted. Students can paint their artworks with a variety of colors and patterns.


Activity: Middle School Art History

  • Activity Setting: Classroom
  • Materials: Pen/ Pencil on Notebook Paper or Word Document
  • Subject: Art History, Folk Art, 3D Composition, Elements and Principles of Design, Paper Mache
  • Texas TEKS: Art 1, Art 2, Art 3
  • Duration: Single Day Project

Students will make an artist statement that uses the elements and principles of design that explains how they created their papier-mâché work of art. They must also discuss how their papier-mâché artwork resembles a traditional papier-mâché object. The work should reflect, or have some reflection, with Linares Family Skull. Students should use the vocabulary to reference the different elements and principles within their work. The student’s artist statements should be at least 2 or 3 paragraphs.


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